As the Baby Boomer generation marches toward their retirement years, the number of older Americans continues to increase exponentially. In fact, experts tell us that by the year 2050, older Americans (age and older) will outnumber their younger counterparts (age 21 and younger) for the first time in history. The sheer number of older Americans, coupled with a societal shift in how seniors are viewed and treated, has caused an increased awareness regarding issues the impact the elderly, and those who care for them. As of the 2010 Census, the City of St. Louis, Missouri had an overall population of 308,626 year around residents. Just over one in ten (11percent) of the residents of St. Louis were age 65 or older.
If you are a St. Louis resident who is enjoying your “Golden Years,” or you are the loved one or caretaker of one, you will find a number of vital resources in the area to help you. Of course, knowing what those resources are and where to find them is critical to benefitting from those resources. To help you, the elder law attorneys at Amen, Gantner & Capriano, Your Estate Matters, LLC have compiled some commonly used elder law resources for the St. Louis, Missouri area.
Local Government and Law Enforcement
One of the first places you should look to for help as a resident of St. Louis is the City of St. Louis website. The website offers an abundance of helpful information including links to contact information for city government offices and links to community services. You will even find an “Over 60” section of the city’s website devoted to services and resources seniors may find helpful. It is equally important to be able to quickly and easily navigate to the relevant law enforcement agency online, should you need them. The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office service residents who live in the St. Louis, Missouri area.
Nursing Homes, Assisted Living, and Home Health Care
With the help of services such as home health care, many seniors are able to remain in the comfort of their homes longer than in years past. At some point, however, remaining in the home may no longer be a safe, viable option. Choosing a long-term care facility, whether for yourself or for a loved one, is a an extremely personal process. When the circumstances allow, planning ahead is a good idea because as it gives you the time you need to properly research your options. The good news is that with the population of seniors growing by the day, the amenities and services offered by LTC facilities are also expanding to provide choices and options that were not available just a few years ago. If you are in the process of choosing a LTC facility, the following resources may be helpful:
- The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services offers a “Show Me Long Term Care in Missouri” which allows you to search for and compare facilities as well as offers a wide range of other helpful information and resources for seniors in need of long-term care.
- com offers a list of skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, and home care in and near St. Louis, Missouri.
- Nursing Home Compare which is found on the Medicare.gov. website is the official U.S. government’s website for Medicare, offering you the ability to search for and compare licenses nursing homes anywhere in the country.
- Missouri Care Planning Council where you can search facilities and find a variety of helpful information for seniors and caregivers.
Long-term care costs throughout the nation are high, and expected to continue to rise for the foreseeable future. At around $65,000 per year for 2018, the average yearly cost of LTC in St. Louis is below the national average of almost $90,000. Nevertheless, the cost of an average three years stay in a LTC facility will be costly. Moreover, experts tell us the rising costs associated with LTC won’t be slowing down anytime soon. Unfortunately, neither Medicare nor most health insurance policies cover expenses associated with LTC. The good news is that Medicaid will cover LTC expenses. Accordingly, it may be in your best interest to work with the estate planning attorneys at Amen, Gantner & Capriano, Your Estate Matters, LLC to incorporate Medicaid planning into your estate plan. Doing so ensures that you meet the Medicaid eligibility requirements as a senior.
As you probably already know, retirement doesn’t have to slow you down. On the contrary, many seniors take advantage of the opportunity to get out and about and socializing with old friends and make new ones. For seniors living in and around St. Louis, a wide variety of places can be found to mix and mingle. The St. Louis Activity Center, for example, offers Bingo, casino trips, and a variety of other options for older adults to socialize. For veterans, there are several American Legion and VFW posts in the St. Louis area.
Local, State and Federal Assistance
Many local, state and federal resources and assistance programs are geared specifically at seniors. A great resources for seniors is the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. Many seniors also qualify for assistance from the Social Security disability or Social Security retirement program. For information, including application instructions, visit the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) disability website. To sign up for your Social Security retirement benefits, navigate to the sign up website of the SSA. If you are a veteran, or the surviving spouse or dependent of a veteran, you may also be entitled to a number of benefits through the Veteran’s Administration. Along with well-known benefits such as pension and disability benefits, you might qualify for additional benefits you may not be familiar with, such as Veteran’s Aid and Attendance benefits. Once you reach retirement age, you will likely be automatically enrolled in the Medicare program. Although basic Medicare is free to all seniors, Medicare actually has four parts and the other three parts may come with a premium. If you have questions about a covered service or need to find a provider, the official Medicare website can help. In addition, if you need help covering the high cost of long-term care at some point you might qualify for Missouri Healthnet for Seniors.
Although you (or your loved one) may be entitled to a wide variety of benefits, getting an application completed and approved can be a monumental task. Navigating the governmental red tape can be challenging under the best of circumstances. If you are attempting to apply on behalf of a family member or other loved one, it may be even more difficult if you do not yet have guardianship over the applicant. Worse still is the reality that a significant percentage of initial applications for benefits are denied, often for no other reason than the application itself was missing information and/or documentation. The elder law attorneys Amen, Gantner & Capriano, Your Estate Matters, LLC are available to help you through the process from understanding what benefits are available to you to making sure you are in a position to get approved for all the assistance available.
Getting Help from a St. Louis Elder Law Attorney
The competent, caring, and compassionate elder law attorneys at Amen, Gantner & Capriano, Your Estate Matters, LLC are dedicated to helping you in your search for the right type of long-term care, whether for yourself or for a loved one. We are also dedicated to making sure that you are able to afford that care without losing your entire retirement nest egg. Remember, however, early planning is the key to success when it comes to long-term care planning.
In addition to long-term care planning, our experienced elder law attorneys can also assist you with other legal issues you may face as you age, such as the need for incapacity planning, Medicaid planning, and retirement planning as well as the desire to incorporate assets protection strategies into your overall estate plan. Please feel free to contact the experienced St. Louis, Missouri elder law attorneys at Amen, Gantner & Capriano, Your Estate Matters, LLC by calling (314) 966-8077 to schedule an appointment.